RELIGION ROUNDTABLE

Don’t make me pick a favorite

There are so many Bible stories that I love. I have preached so many sermons and used many different Bible stories as examples. I love the story of Moses and how God used him to free the Jewish nation from over 400 years of slavery.

Then there’s Elijah and the miracles that he performed. The power of the Lord came on him and he outran a chariot. He fed a widow woman and her son in a time of a severe drought.

Elisha succeeds him and does double the miracles that Elijah did. Once he captured an entire army without even fighting. How powerful is that?

Then there’s David, a man after God’s own heart. David is anointed king at a very early age; he defeats a giant over 9 feet tall. Once he is king, he has a lapse in character and commits adultery, which leads him to murder a man name Uriah for his wife. He repents and God restores him, and he fathers a child named Solomon who is very wise. This story shows forgiveness and restoration.

Oh yeah, let’s not forget Christ, who came and died for our sins. He was an example for every believer. The sacrifices He made so that I could have eternal life is amazing. So for me it’s not just one story, but many in the Bible.

— Winfred Logan, Heart to Heart Ministries

Favorites change over time

Biblical stories have been helpful to me at various times and stages of my life.

When I was a child, my favorite stories were Jesus and the children, as well as heroes of the faith like David fighting Goliath, Esther saving her people and Noah saving the animals. Who wouldn’t like someone who saved their people and animals?

As a teenager, Jeremiah 29:11 was meaningful to me imagining that God did have a plan and destiny for my life. Like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego (Daniel 3), I wanted to have the courage to stand up for my faith. Ideals and dreams for establishing my life drew me to Joshua 24:15, where Joshua says, “As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” Jesus’ parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30) encouraged me to work hard and not squander my time or gifts. Warnings to not allow your need to be popular, have stuff or have power were also helpful.

Stories of disappointment, failure and grief — such as Peter denying Christ, or Jonah not wanting to go to Nineveh, or the grief of David, Naomi and Jesus when their loved ones died — braced me when I faced dark days.

Jesus’ admonition to “give away your possessions” has become meaningful to me in my older age (Luke 18:22). The story of Simeon saying he can now die in peace having glimpsed a bit of salvation (Luke 2:25-35) and being mature enough to let go and embrace the promise of eternal rest helps me welcome my own death.

— Dale Clem, First United Methodist Church, Anniston

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